[packman] Packman service interruption and migration

Pascal Bleser pascal.bleser at opensuse.org
Sun Feb 20 16:28:08 CET 2011

The Packman website and repositories are going to be broken and
in the works for several days (possibly up to a week) starting
tonight at 20:00 CET, during which the following services will
not be available, or only sporadically:
* the Packman website itself: http://packman.links2linux.org
* the Packman repositories, except "Essentials" (see "new
  repository layout" below)

The reason is that we are performing a major migration of our
services to
* the latest version of the openSUSE Build Service (we were
  still using an old version)
* a new layout of our repositories, to enable a more fine-
  grained control over what parts of Packman should be used
  (see below)

In order to try to keep a minimum service going during that
time, you may use and point people to our new repositories, that
already contain the "Essentials" part, which are almost complete
with the bare minimum everyone needs (mplayer, vlc, libraries,
The URLs for the new repositories are as follows:
* http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_11.3/
* http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_11.2/
* http://packman.inode.at/suse/Factory/
* http://packman.inode.at/suse/SLE_11/

There are no .repo files there yet, so adding one of these is
done as follows:
  zypper ar -n packman http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_11.3/ packman
(obviously adapt the URL to your openSUSE version)
You may also use one of our mirror sites, as they already have
our new repositories:

New repository layout
As has been announced (including here), we have had a discussion
back in December about whether and how we should reorganize the
layout of our repositories. Up to now, and for many years, it
has always been "one big repository", which had pros and cons:
* good: easy to use, just add onr repository and be done with it
* good: easy for us to manage
* bad: you get everything and the kitchen sink, including
  packages that are duplications of stuff from other repositories,
  specifically from build.opensuse.org (which didn't exist when
  Packman was created), and potential conflicts with those
* bad: large metadata files to synchronise (although zypper has
  become pretty fast at that)

We came up with a solution to this, as more and more people
requested having split repositories, in order to control what
they want to use from Packman:
* we will have four repositories instead of one: Essentials,
  Multimedia, Games and Extras
* Essentials will be the bare minimum to get your multimedia
  experience on openSUSE going (libraries, MPlayer, vlc, ffmpeg,
* Multimedia will contain additional applications that are not
  available for openSUSE or only in a crippled build, such as
  avidemux, etc...
* Games are, well, games, although we will try to move most of
  what may be hosted on build.opensuse.org to the games project
* Extras is all the rest

In order to provide the best of both worlds or, rather, still
provide you with the old option of adding everything, we are
using a little trick and are running "createrepo" on the
top-level directory, which results in having repository metadata
that contains all the packages from all the above mentioned
repositories without having to duplicate the RPM files on our
Hence, to make it short and less technical, you can still also
use the "old way" too.

As an example of what needs to be added to zypper, once the
migration is complete and .repo files are available too:
* add the Essentials repository:
  zypper ar -r \
* add the "everything" repository:
  zypper ar -r \

I will announce our progress on my blog at
http://dev-loki.blogspot.com -- which is also aggregated on
http://planet.opensuse.org -- and will obviously post another
announcement here once our migration is complete.

In advance, sorry for the inconvenience, and thank you for your
understanding. We are convinced that our move will not only
provide us with a better infrastructure, but also improve your
experience with Packman and openSUSE.

  -o) Pascal Bleser <pascal.bleser at opensuse.org>
  /\\ http://opensuse.org -- I took the green pill
 _\_v FOSDEM XI: 5 + 6 Feb 2011, http://fosdem.org
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